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Congresswoman Waters Introduces Comprehensive Health Services Expansion Package

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced a comprehensive package of legislation to expand disease prevention and treatment programs in her district and other underserved communities throughout America.  The package consists of three separate bills, each of which will reduce disparities and expand services for patients who suffer from common, life-threatening diseases.  This comprehensive health package includes the following bills:

• The Cancer TEST Act

This bill will authorize grants for prevention education, screenings, patient counseling services, and treatment for cancer.  Grants will be made available to community health centers and non-profit organizations that serve minority and underserved populations.  The bill will emphasize early detection and provide comprehensive treatment for cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment is most likely to save lives. 

• The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act

Diabetes continues to have a severe impact on minorities.  More than nine percent of Hispanic Americans, 12 percent of American Indians, and 13 percent of African Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes, and many Asian Americans are also at high risk.  The Minority Diabetes Initiative Act will authorize grants for diabetes prevention and treatment programs in minority communities.  The initiative is modeled on the highly successful Minority AIDS Initiative, which was developed under Congresswoman Waters' leadership in 1998.

• The Alzheimer's Treatment and Caregiver Support Act

Alzheimer's disease currently affects 4.5 million Americans over the age of 65 and places tremendous burdens on the families who care for them.  Caregivers face a variety of challenges, from assisting patients with bathing and dressing to managing their finances and making legal decisions.  The Alzheimer's Treatment and Caregiver Support Act will authorize grants to improve treatment for Alzheimer's patients and expand training and support services for their families and caregivers.  These grants will allow more people with Alzheimer's disease to remain in their homes with their families.

 "This comprehensive health package will save lives and improve health services for individuals with cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease in underserved communities like California's 35th congressional district.   I urge my colleagues to support all three of these bills and expand the availability of critical health services for all Americans who are at risk from these life-threatening conditions," said the Congresswoman.